02/25/07 — Faison restaurant featured in March Southern Living magazine

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Faison restaurant featured in March Southern Living magazine

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on February 25, 2007 2:03 AM

FAISON --More than a year ago, chef Joani Babcock promised this small northern Duplin County town of mostly teetotalers that if they approved the sale of alcohol on Sundays that her restaurant, Southern Exposure, would be featured in either Southern Living or Our State Magazine within three years.

Next month, she makes good on her promise.

The restaurant will be featured in the March edition of Southern Living, giving the tiny town a measure of exposure it seldom experiences.

"It doesn't get any better than this," Babcock said.

Her partner, Sarah McColman, she many things have fallen into place to make the restaurant a success.

They learned that the interview they'd done several months ago with a Southern Living writer had been published when a couple from New Bern called asking for directions. They'd seen the story and were anxious to try out the cuisine at the quaint little restaurant at 202 Main St. Suddenly, the secret was out.

"That's how we found out. They drove all the way to eat lunch," said Ms. McColman, who had been told the March edition of the magazine would not be mailed out until Feb. 27.

Ms. Babcock admitted to being a little nervous about having enough staff to handle the response to the publicity.

"We are very grateful and happy," she said.

Ms. McColman said the lady from New Bern told her "everything was seasoned perfectly, and they just loved the ambiance of the restaurant. They loved the real plants, the wood, the high ceilings. They had fried green tomatoes and barbecued shrimp and the pimento cheeseburger."

Ms. McColman, who is a Faison native, said another New Bern man who had lunch with them Thursday told her his "Brewer's Burger" was the best he ever had.

The partners' dream was to create a homey place for people to dine, a place where Chef Babcock could showcase her talent with foods such as wild salmon, jerked chicken burritos, black-eyed pea jambalaya and free-range chicken breast. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. and again from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays the restaurant is open until 10 p.m. Saturday is dinner only, from 5 until 10 p.m., and Sunday is lunch, 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m.